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Ecosphere Project

Erica Rosenthal

This experiment tested the Earth and how the bio-geochemical cycles within it rely on each other. The worms relied on the ground for shelter and the plant for oxygen. The Ecosphere also evaluated limiting factors within an ecosystem because the bottle used was a small, contained environment. For example, one of the three worms had died because it got stuck between the plant and the side of the bottle. This is a limiting factor in terms of space: if there was more space for the worm this would not have happened.

If one producer and one consumer are to maintain a viable ecosystem in a bottle, how long will they survive?

I believe the outcome of the experiment will be that all of the worms will survive and the plant will not. The worms will survive because I will be feeding them sawdust, their desired food, and they will have plenty of dirt to wiggle around in. The plant, however, will not survive because the plant’s resources are limited. The soil put into the ecosphere is not going to be changed out, therefore the nutrients in it will diminish.

Background Information:
The EcoSphere is a display of a working ecological system. While it is beautiful to view, it also demonstrates the delicate balance of a closed ecosystem like the Earth. Contained within the completely sealed glass is a small variety of biota living in a filtered environment.

The EcoSphere contains some of the same essential elements that are found on our planet. The Earth is represented by the soil at the bottom. Fire is the light, which streams in each day. Finally, life: the worms, plant and microbes that live in the EcoSphere.

The EcoSphere's biological cycle represents a simple version of Earth's' own ecosystem. Light together with carbon dioxide in the water enables the plant to produce oxygen by photosynthesis. The worms breathe the oxygen in the ahir while nibbling on the sawdust...
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